Author Nadine Brandes asks the question, and explains why and how you should be.
Nadine Brandes‘ third book in her dystopian Out of Time series, A Time to Rise is only days from release. If you haven’t been following the tale of Parvin Blackwater, read my reviews of book 1 and book 2. Sorry to see the series conclude, but can’t wait to see how it does end. Available for pre-order now.
Haven’t had much time to post lately, but others have been making up for it: Nadine Brandes gives us 7 Reasons Bookstores Rock even in our internet age. Kat Heckenbach has fantastic 68 Book Marketing Ideas you cannot ignore. Finally, Aya and her readers share 51 Book Quotes for you to ponder.
Even though some of my favorite books are old-school dystopian — A Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 — I haven’t picked up many of the new wave of books in this genre. One exception has been Nadine Brandes‘ Out of Time series. I reviewed book one, A Time to Die here. Book two, A Time to Speak continues chronicling the life of Parvin Blackwater.
Parvin lives in a future where the world was devastated by disaster. All she knows of civilization is walled in from the rest of the world and run by an oppressive government. The rulers control the population through Clocks. Each person knows when their life will end as their Clock counts down. Parvin was only months away from the end and her life hasn’t amounted to much. In book one, we saw how she began to change that, facing perils she never could have imagined. The true nature of the world she lived in also began to reveal itself.
I don’t want to give too much about this book and reveal the ending of the first for those who haven’t read it. I will say, Parvin has not quit on changing the fate of her people even though events have become much worse. With the Council packing people up and shipping them off to an unknown fate — which reminded me of 1930s Germany — Parvin struggles with being anyone’s leader. People are also dying before their Clocks expire. Her journey will take her to distant parts of the globe and force her to decide if she will lead, and speak, regardless of the risk to herself.
Brandes continues a well-realized, character-centric story with Parvin. Not that the other characters aren’t important or without depth, but Parvin drives this tale. You want to see what happens to her next, her choices and her changes. While her dystopian world will be familiar to genre fans, and Parvin follows that reluctant hero path, it’s her journey that sets her apart from the others. Stories like this are one reason why people write and read:
To remind us to evaluate our own journey on this world.
“People are allowing themselves to place time above life.” Parvin Blackwater should know, her Clock is counting down to her last day. She’s always known when the end would be, but she won’t let it define her. “I want…to be remembered.” This is the core of Nadine Brandes‘ novel A Time to Die, a refreshingly original entry into the crowded dystopian genre.
The world has been shattered by a global disaster and the nation is divided. A wall divides the East and the West. There are cities outside the wall, but desolate areas where people have regressed to primitive cultures. Parvin and her family are at the bottom of society inside the Wall. The elites who rule the society that rose from the ashes control the population through Clocks. Each person knows when the end will be as their Clock counts down (somewhat reminiscent of the film In Time). Eighteen-year-old Parvin is only months away from the end and her life hasn’t amounted to much. She is determined to change that in what time she has left.
We have a typical dystopian background, but instead of that overwhelming the story, Nadine Brandes focuses in on Parvin’s journey. It’s not an easy one, with some moments that will take you aback. There’s more depth in this character’s pilgrimage than in similar books. Not the simple “rise against the oppressors” story, Parvin must learn who she is and what she believes if she is to learn her place in the world. Told perfectly in the first person, we get to see her struggle with belief, with God, doubt and with what she encounters outside the Wall. Yes, like the female protagonists in those other books, Parvin is challenged beyond anything a normal person would face. Here, though, it isn’t all that obvious where this will lead. Maybe she will challenge the oppressors, indirectly or directly, but she’s certainly not taken the well-worn route of her contemporaries (in other novels, that is).
By approaching the dystopian tale from a different path, and themes of time, finding one’s place in the Story and of belief, Brandes has begun a captivating epic.